Summer school begins with new policies and new principal

Posted 8/5/20

Summer school classes began Tuesday morning, Aug. 4, at Gerald Elementary School. There were 93 students enrolled in summer classes ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade.

One of biggest …

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Summer school begins with new policies and new principal

Posted

Summer school classes began Tuesday morning, Aug. 4, at Gerald Elementary School. There were 93 students enrolled in summer classes ranging from kindergarten to fifth grade.

One of biggest changes students noted was a new principal to greet them on the their arrival. Jared Tharp officially began his duties leading GES on Monday, Aug. 3.

There were several other changes in school procedures as well.

Students riding buses were encouraged to wear masks during their trips to and from school. They will be assigned seats and family groups will be seated together. An attempt will be made to seat students with an empty seat between them to encourage safe distancing.

Jennifer Lindemeyer, GES counselor, said that about half the students getting off the buses Tuesday morning were wearing masks.

Buses will load and unload one at a time in order to allow safe distancing and to discourage co-mingling.

There were new procedures in place for students who are dropped off at school, also. Parents are encouraged to remain in their vehicles. If they must enter the school, they are not allowed past the office.

Parents also asked to take a different route to the school parking lot. They should enter Oak Street off Fitzgerald Avenue (U.S. Highway 50). Oak Street is one block west of Old Potosi Road which runs along the parking lot. Oak Street automatically turns left onto Lincoln Street which will dead end onto Old Potosi Road. A left turn there will take parents to the parking lot.

When picking children up after school, parents need to remain in their vehicles. A GES staff member will escort students to the vehicle. Parents will then exit the parking lot near the intersection of Old Potosi Road and Fitzgerald Avenue.

In the cafeteria, students sit on only one side of the table so no one is facing them. Tharp says when school starts in earnest, with more students, some juggling may be needed with staggering lunch shifts or adding more tables.

Students will not be able to drink from water fountains at school until the health department deems it safe. Instead they should bring a clean water bottle from home. The school has installed several touchless water fountains. Students can fill their bottles at these without the need to press buttons. The fountains require pressing a button in order for students to drink from them, therefore that will not be allowed.

Tharp, Lindemeyer and secretary  Sheila Stokes all reported a very smooth first day of classes, even with the unfamiliar rules students faced. Tharp attributes that to the efforts of his professional staff and to the support for the school shown by the parents and community.

An in-depth interview with Tharp will appear in next week’s edition of The Republican.   

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